Lessons from the Rain

Isaac has been in public school for about a week in a half.  Last week, on Tuesday I think, he learned a very valuable lesson.

I’ve been trying to walk to get Isaac.  It’s a 11-12 minute fast walk to the school, but the trip home up hill with Isaac can be a bit of a challenge, especially, when I need to get back to work, so it’s really been about half and half.

On this particular day it decided to start pouring right as I was leaving the house, I decided to drive instead.  I fumbled with the umbrella, carrying Lynzie (I don’t typically wrap her for the short walk from the car to the school) to stand in the rain awaiting for Isaac.  As school got out the rain stopped.

They have this weird system of only letting one kid out at a time and only if they make eye contact with the parent.  It takes forever and I’m not a big fan, but I understanding they are trying to keep the kids safe.  Anyway, Isaac finally came out with his backpack and a paper in his hand.  Then told me he forgot to tell his teacher something and wanted to go back.  I told him he’d have to wait until tomorrow and he threw a bit of a fit(this is important for later), but recovered well.

We walked around the school, across the crosswalk and got in the car.  As I was putting Lynzie’s straps on, I asked Isaac where the paper he was hold was.  He didn’t know and said someone must have stolen it.  I convinced him someone probably did not steal it and that he probably dropped it.  He wanted to go search for it, but I didn’t want to get Lynzie back out and I could see most of the way back from the car. 

So I let him go himself.  He got to the crosswalk and waited forever (the teacher on the other side was busy talking and didn’t see him) and the car waiting to leave the parking lot wouldn’t go and kept waving Isaac across, so he crossed.  He searched and then returned to the car without the paper.

He was sad and by this time almost everyone had gone, so we re-parked and bit closer and all got out of the car and searched again.  We found the paper in the exact spot he threw a fit, face down in a puddle of water.

He was devastated.  It turned out it was a little coloring book they’d colored at school.  He’d only gotten the first page colored because he colored in the lines and “that takes a long time.  It’s slow.”

We had to discuss the importance of the backpack (that had nothing in it) to protect his stuff and allow him use of his hands.  Rough lesson for him.  I’m thankful it happened with just a coloring sheet.



Nine years ago we bought this house.  It’s all of 1300 square feet and was perfect for us and a dog.  Then we added another dog, some fish, a snake, a baby and it started to feel crowded.  Although we are down some pets, we are up one more kid.  It might not feel so crowded if their weren’t so many toys, but I digress.

Nine years ago we bought this house.  We planned on keeping it five and then selling and moving on.  We never thought much of having kids in this house.  And then the economy went crazy and we got cozy.

At some point, it became nine years, and somehow at nine years we have a five year old that is going to school.  I didn’t think it would be too bad.  I mean he has gone to Preschool since he was 2 and it wasn’t really, but it’s gotten me to thinking how fast time goes.

It seems like yesterday we moved into this house…did I mention it was really NINE years ago?

In nine more years, we will have a high schooler!  WHAT!!!

Back to Kindergarten….

My super smart five year old is going to a half day kindergarten.  Afternoons only, just down the street from our house.  I wonder if we did him a disservice by sending him to the local elementary school and not researching charters and trying to get him into one of those.

Really, I was done with driving.  It was 1 hour round trip to take Isaac to school last year and poor Lynzie had to sit in the car for that trip twice.  And just this summer, we’ve seen Lynzie’s development take off.  I think she was spending too much of her awake hours strapped in a car.

And really, what do we want out of Kindergarten?  Isaac can already read extremely well.  Seriously, I had to make him leave because he was reading over my shoulder as I typed.  He can print and spell at level that I’d consider a end of year Kindergartener.  He likes to do simple addition and subtraction and can count to 100 and write numbers too.

Social, more than anything, we want Isaac to learn to get along with other kids (which he already does well), be responsible for himself and his actions, he a leader, stand firm and do the right even when no one else is.  We want him to learn about others and care about them and there feelings.

I’m sure Isaac will learn academic stuff this year, but more than anything we want him to be social and that can happen at any school.

The day before school started, we took Isaac out on a Mommy and Daddy date.  We left Lynzie home with Grandma and Grandpa and enjoyed a few hours a the family sports center.  We played video games, climbed a rock wall, challenged each other to the bounce obstacle course, played a round of mini golf, but we all probably had the most fun playing laser tag.  It was the first time for Isaac and it was definitely fun for all.  I’m glad we took the afternoon to play together.


The Watching Game

Sometimes being a parent means keeping yourself from freaking out or voicing your concerns and just letting your children experience life and make mistakes on their own as you watch.

A few weeks ago, as one of the Bronco play off games was winding up, I found Isaac walking across the stove with a tin of pasta to reheat in the microwave.  His little sister stood in the middle of the kitchen with her Payton Manning jersey and jean skirt staring up in anticipation.

I decided to avoid a fire and offered a bowl to Isaac instead of the foil pan, but continued to let the scene play out.  He reheated his food, hopped down off the counter and then laid down in the middle of the kitchen with his sister and shared his leftover pasta.

How adorable are they?

Now, I could have freaked out that he got on the counter.  That he was eating a snack too close to dinner and I’m sure a host of other things.  But in this situation, I took a step back and just watched.

Really, Isaac was using the skills we’ve given him.  He solved his problem of being hungry and being too short to reach things.  He didn’t whine about it and say he couldn’t do it, he just did it.  And then he shared.  I don’t know that many children who would sit with the last of their favorite pasta and feed half of it to their sister.  True love I tell ya, true love…but I suppose some good modeling from Mom and Dad doesn’t hurt.

Making Bugs

We are constantly running.  Working, trips to school, fixing meals, cleaning up the house, etc.  It’s somewhat rare that I just let things happen.

For Lynzie’s first birthday, I wanted to decorate the house with ladybugs.  It was somewhat of a last minute thought.  I had plans to do it all on my own, and then I remembered, my sister just moved out here and it would be a great bonding moment.

Somehow the event became her cooking dinner (her AMAZING chicken curry) and us all (my sister, my brother-in-law, my husband and my son) sitting around the table cutting, gluing, painting and chatting through the night.  It was fun.  Of course, Zach did spend a lot of time distracting Lynzie and periodically Isaac.

The best part about it was how much fun it was for Isaac and how much he liked being a part of the group and learning how to make lady bugs.  After my sister and her husband left, we still had several lady bugs to put together, so I was working much faster and Isaac sat there with me whipping our lady bugs – cutting bodies, cutting heads, gluing them together, making wings, painting spots and setting them to dry.  The whole time he was chatting about this and that.

The next morning, I was on a conference call and Zach wasn’t home yet, when Isaac woke up, went downstairs and started making ladybugs again.  When Zach got home from work, he found Isaac working on bugs.

It is so great to see him growing up, to see the skills he is learning in school and to see how eager he is to learn more.  Several years ago, you couldn’t get Isaac to do art, now he can’t get enough, as long as he doesn’t have to get dirty.

Circus Time

When Zach and I learned the circus was in town we began discussing taking the kids. We thought Isaac would really enjoy it, but are schedule has been pretty packed. We finally decided we’d just go on Sunday morning and not tell Isaac where we were going.

Somehow, Isaac didn’t figure out where we were going or what we were doing until halfway through our visit with the animals before the show. Isaac enjoyed the animals, but Lynzie LOVED them. Her face glowed as she pointed and shouted at the “dags.”

We then found our seats and watched the preshow (we would have gone down, but it would have taken us far too long from our seats). Zach went to get us cotton candy as we enjoyed the elephants. Again, Lynzie was in love, even from so far away.

The real show started and Zach took Lynzie. She was so super excited. Pointing at all the animals and squealing. It was so adorable.

As expected, she got restless, and I had to stand in the aisle rocking her in the wrap for a bit before she fell asleep.

Isaac on the other hand seemed slightly overwhelmed at times and bored at others. All he really wanted or cared about was getting a light up toy. Which he later had taken away due to a bad attitude.

I don’t know that we will do the circus often, but I’m so glad we took Lynzie this year. And can’t wait to take her to the zoo soon.


When Nap Time Fails

Nap times have been rough lately.  Isaac has always been a good sleeper and taken a very good afternoon nap.  It is part of what has allowed us to keep him home while I work.  Since school has been out, naps happen less and less.  This is problematic when the kids take a nap in the same room.

I normally put the kids down, turn on the ocean noise that is on a 1 hour timer and Lynzie goes right to sleep, but Isaac is hit or miss.  He knows that when the ocean turns off he can get up.  Sometimes he can’t even wait that long before is he up asking for something.

Today was different.  I turned the music on and walked out of the room.  A minute or so later I heard laughter and playing….then it was 20 minutes, then it was 40 minutes.  The kids played for close to an hour and when the music turned off, Isaac popped out.  I told him since he’d been playing he needed to go back to his room and I’d come get him when it was time to get up.

No arguments, but soon I heard more jumping and playing and the radio on.  I let it go and eventually I heard Lynzie fuss for a minute and Isaac apologized for waking her up.  When I was done with work, Lynzie was fast asleep, with both of Isaac’s pillows and his radio – Ha!

Today I let it go.  I didn’t let it bother me and they were fine.  In fact, part of me just loves sitting and listening to them chat and play together.  As I started this blog they were in our room across the hall, sitting on the floor with a basket of books.  Isaac was reading and Lynzie was playing.  I love these moments and want to hold tight.

Isaac is 4!

Isaac’s birthday fell on a Sunday this year.  We decided since this was the first real year with friends, instead of having a party on his actual birthday in the evening like we have in the past, we’d have people over on Saturday around lunch time.  Isaac really wanted to go to a playground, but with the weather in December, it couldn’t be counted on.  We thought of booking a place, but they seemed cost prohibitive for the amount of kids we were having.

We let Isaac choose the guest list and I sent out the invite a week before, not expecting everyone to be able to make it.  Well, sure enough, as the RSVPs came in it looked like everyone was going to make it…bringing the number of people coming through my home to over 30.  I began to stress a little, but put that energy into cleaning the house and truly making it possible to have that many people in our tiny 1300 sq ft home.  The tree came down and other items (trash cans, microwave cart, etc.) that were deemed unnecessary  were moved to the garage.  We laid out the mats downstairs on the tile (or it is too cold to stand on at this time of year, especially when it was supposed to stay right around freezing outside on the day of his party) and brought out the rug we put up when Isaac was a baby.  Zach cleaned while I made a birthday cake and by about 10PM the night before we were ready.

On Saturday morning, we woke up to do last minute things and get ready to learn that one family of five was not going to be able to make it because they were having some sickness in the family and didn’t want to share their germs (thanks! we appreciate it!) and my dad had decided it was going to stress him out too much, so he was going to just drop Mom off and go work.

By 11:15, we had 25 people (adults and kids) in our home and the pizza arrived.  I setup a towel for the kids to have a “picnic” downstairs and they all sat and ate.  Then Isaac wanted to do presents.  Then cake and the kids played with all the new toys while the adults talked.  About 1ish or so I had to go nurse Lynzie and suddenly all the people with kids were gone (I suppose it was nap time) and some grandparents and we were left with my Mom, Russ and Julia.  Shortly, Russ and Julia left as our neighbors showed up and then my dad arrived.  It was a great day and somehow I had that many people in my house.  I think need to seriously be looking for a bigger house.

On Isaac’s actual birthday we got up and asked Isaac what he wanted to do.  We gave him a ton of options and let him choose.  At first he wanted to go to the zoo, but since it was still hovering around freezing, we encouraged him to pick something else.  This is what he choose in order: chocolate chip pancakes, aquarium, movie at the movie theater, silly penguin (frozen yogurt) and ice skating.  We told him we might not be able to pull it all off, but we’d try.

We went to Village Inn first.  Mainly, because they have pancakes and Mommy and Daddy were too tired to actually fix breakfast.  After breakfast (which was more at lunch time) we went to the aquarium.  Isaac has this habit of speeding through these types of things, so we kept having to slow him down.  We had a great time with the otters, that kept swimming and jumping off the glass in front of us, we enjoyed the sea turtles and the mermaid show (we just happened upon that section just three minutes before it started and Lynzie needed to nurse, so it seemed like a good time to just sit and chill for a while, but we split up (I sat in the way back on a bench, the boys got up-close) and Isaac was concerned that I missed it all), we saw people swimming with the sharks and got to pretend the sharks were trying to eat us, Isaac touched a starfish for the second time in his life and then he got to touch a sting ray.  He says is favorite part was the sting rays.

After the aquarium, we looked up movie times and told Isaac he had to choose to see a movie or go to Silly Penguin, but we couldn’t do both.  He choose a movie, and since the move didn’t start for two hours, but was on our way home and Isaac was hungry, we asked him where he wanted to eat.  McDonald’s was his choice and the one closest to the theater happened to have a playground.  Even though it was a Sunday evening and the Broncos game was just ending, there was a big family with four or five kids playing on the play structure and they immediately began playing with Isaac.  He was having a blast, but at one point he came to check on us and was having trouble breathing, so we had to do his inhaler  but he went right back to playing.  Shortly before we were going to go another bigger family came in and the first family left.  The second family wasn’t as accepting of Isaac, so when we told him it was time to go, he was ready.

We went and saw Wreck-It-Ralph and by this time I was exhausted and could barely stay awake.  Lynzie slept for only about 10 minutes of the movie and was awake the rest of the time, so I was constantly moving her to keep her occupied, but that kept me awake.

On our way home Isaac told us he had a good day.  I’m glad he enjoyed it, it was a little rough on us. 🙂  He even told us again the next day what a great day it had been.

One thing we’ve been working on with Isaac is sucking his thumb.  About 10 days before his birthday I came up with this plan that he would have a jar of jelly beans (his choice) and would lose one every time he sucked his thumb.  At the end of the week he could have computer time based on the amount of jelly beans left.  Well, a week is too long for a almost four year old, so we ended up modifying the idea to be 10 jelly beans a day in his bowl and whatever was left at the end of the day he could eat.  This worked about very well.  We did tell him his bed was his free zone and he could suck his thumb there if he needed to.  On his birthday he woke up and told us he wasn’t going to suck his thumb anymore.  I could see him trying so hard and he really made it through the day.  I was so proud of him.  Since, he has gone back to sucking his thumb in his bed, but he has been pretty good every where else.  He forgets sometimes, but does well when reminded.

Nine Months

In nine months, I grew a baby, but I also nurtured a little person quickly coming into his own.  Sometimes, its hard to see the changes when you are always together.  This weekend, I ran into this “big brother” video from March and can really see the changes in Isaac.  The second video was taken last weekend.

Halloween ’12

I love the fall.  Actually, I kinda love any change in seasons.  But I’m not one for Halloween. I don’t like witches and monsters, scary and gore, so I’m not one to do it up.  Zach loves the costumes and candy…it’s all about the candy.  We’ve always struggled with how to mesh these perspectives together.   Eventually, we decided on allowing the kids to dress up and trick-or-treat, but that we wouldn’t make it a huge deal, and then we had a three-year-old.

Isaac has been reading and learning about the seasons and one of the things he learned from the book was about Halloween.  He was suddenly very interested in it and kept asking when he got to go trick-or-treating.  “After your sister is born,” was always the answer.

Having a baby on Friday, coming home on Sunday and Halloween on Wednesday, I didn’t know exactly how it was going to go, but after Isaac looking forward to it for so long, I didn’t want to completely disappoint him.

On Halloween, we decided to take Isaac over to a local church (the church we’d like to go to if only Isaac wouldn’t throw such a fit when we tried to leave him in the children’s area, and really church is the only place he has ever been like that) for their Harvest Party.  I didn’t want to be left out, so we bundled Lynzie up and got Isaac dressed and headed out.

The party was a little lower key than some other churches around, but it was just perfect for us.  It wasn’t too crowded, had a few games, some blow-up bouncies and a bit of food.  Isaac had fun touring the games and getting his candy, but his favorite was the bouncy house.  Unfortunately, this lead to him not being able to breath and Zach having to go get his inhaler out of the car.  We spent about an hour at the church, which was just long enough for me as I was beginning to get really sore.  Isaac agreed it was fun, but isn’t quite sure if he is ready to go to church yet.  We’ll work on that.

Back at home, a neighbor brought us dinner and Isaac learned the rules of handing out candy: do not open the door if Mommy and Daddy aren’t downstairs, do not give candy to anyone unless they say “trick or treat.”  I had decided to stay upstairs for the night with Lynzie, but since our house is small I could still hear everything that was going on downstairs.

Halloween is Isaac’s holiday.  It is perfect for his personality.  He got to dress up as a fireman (someone who helps people, not a bad guy) and he gets to be social with lots of people.  Zach said he would stand at the door staring at the kids until they said “trick or treat,” and then he’d have conversations with them – “Cool costume,” “You talk good,” “how is your day?” – something different with everyone.  Zach then took Isaac door-to-door around our block and I guess his conversations continued.  Every person who opened a door was blessed with a different Isaac question or statement, typically related to their house or decorations.

The next morning, Isaac immediately asked when he could go trick or treating again.  He was so sad when I told him he’d have to wait a year.  I asked him if he liked Halloween – “Not the scary stuff, just trick or treating.”  And when asked if he preferred to hand out candy or go trick or treating he stated – “I love it all.”  It really was great to see his little personality shine through.  What a kid!

A New Day

We’ve always been pretty flexible with my son’s bedtime…meaning he doesn’t have one.  He generally goes to bed between 11 and midnight.  I know for a lot of parents, this is crazy, but for us it works.

You see, when Isaac was first born, the only time Zach really got to see him was a bit in the middle of the day and in the evenings, he didn’t get home until 7.  Plus, keeping Isaac up later makes him sleep longer in the mornings, which allows me to get lots of work done, without having interruptions and my back-up (AKA Mom), doesn’t have to rush over in the mornings.

Last year, Isaac started school and as expected, being woken up in the mornings was rough.  Half-way through the year, we added in the nebulizer in the morning which made it even earlier for him.  Thankfully, the neb and a show was actually a very easy way to ease into the day.

This year Isaac’s sleep schedule isn’t much different.  We’ve been trying (not very hard) to modify it slightly so he is up and out of bed by 9AM daily (Zach gets home at 9:30ish), but it’s the afternoon naps that are killing us.  He goes to nap when Zach goes back to work at 1:30 and most days I’m waking him up at 5, which, of course, means he doesn’t want to go  to bed any earlier.  Maybe the new baby will help disrupt things enough to get him into bed slightly sooner…say 10?

Anyway, this is all not the point I was trying to write about.  Isaac is not a morning kid.  Most of the time he wants to snuggle at least 15 minutes before getting up and then getting him going is constant whining and redirection (or so it seems)….but yesterday…yesterday I had a different kid.

Isaac woke up before I got out of bed and wanted to snuggle.  We snuggled a bit and talked about how it was a school day and such.  I got up and got to work and Isaac went into his room and played (this never happens in the mornings).  I reminded him that he needed to get dressed and he came in with the shorts and shirt he’d worn the day before. I told him they were dirty and he needed warmer clothes.  He went back to his room, took off the other clothes and put on new pants, socks and shoes (I had to get a shirt down, so I helped with that) and then he was ready to go.  Go complaining.

We got breakfast, which he ate (it’s a fight most days) and picked out a snack (that was still a bit of a fight) and we headed to the car.  Isaac wasn’t quite done with his pancakes so I asked him to carry those and his backpack out to the car.  He started to complain and I asked him if I had more than him, he agreed and stopped complaining.

When we got to the car the strangest thing happened.  Isaac informed me that he could buckle himself in.  We’ve been trying to encourage this as we figure it’ll help out when the baby comes, but the buckle is a little challenging.  But he didn’t want my help.  I told him he could try while I ran into the house for one more thing.  When I got back to the car, sure enough, he’d buckled himself all the way in and then announced, “I didn’t know I could do that, but I can.”

On the way to school, we counted cows and discussed why pancakes are not served in a pan even though they are called “pan”cakes.

At school, we were a bit early, so were the first ones there.  He hung up his coat, threw open his classroom door, put away his snack, wash his hands as he told his teacher, “I can write S’s now,” pulled his name for attendance and then went and stood in the middle of the room with his hands on his hips.

He teachers laughed as I told them the story about how he can now write S’s and how he has been quite on top of things this morning.  I honestly don’t think Isaac knew quite what to do with an empty room or toys and no friends. 🙂

My little guy sure is growing up.

Sidenote about the S’s.  Isaac has always struggled with S’s, it’s the hardest letter in his name.  Recently he has taken to writing a lightening bolt in the S place instead of whining “I can’t.”  We’ve encouraged that and he even started writing Stop every where too.  Then the other day we were talking to my sister online via video chat and Zach and I mentioned how Isaac S’s look like lightening bolts and we need to work on it (my sis is a kindergarten teacher).  Isaac stopped what he was doing, went over to his easel, grabbed a blue marker and wrote a perfect S and said, “Look, I can write an S now.  I didn’t know I could do that.” and ever since, S’s are S’s not lightening bolts and he is just as excited as we are.